Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. of the United States have agreed to codevelop multifunction digital all-in-one photocopiers capable of printing more than 50 pages per second.

Konica Minolta officials said Wednesday that under the agreement, the Japanese firm will supply copier engines to HP for use in the envisioned photocopiers, which will be equipped with the functions of a printer and facsimile machine.

A copier engine constitutes the heart of a multifunction copier.

In October, HP will take the wraps off the first model of a resultant series of high-speed multifunction digital photocopiers, the Konica Minolta officials said.

HP will subsequently release several models of such multifunction photocopiers within three years to supply the global market, they said.

At present, Canon Inc., Ricoh Co. and the Xerox Group of the United States have a combined share of roughly 50 percent of the global photocopier market.

The HP-Konica Minolta alliance will stand up to the three major copier manufacturers on the strength of the tieup, they said.

Konica Minolta will earn some 10 billion yen in the initial year of the new cooperative arrangement with HP through sales of copier engines for use in HP multifunction digital photocopiers, they said.

The economy of scale will enable Konica Minolta to cut back on its production cost by up to 30 percent.

HP will put its badge on the upcoming series of multifunction digital copiers for sale in the United States and Europe, where HP will build a network of outlets capable of providing relevant maintenance services, they added.

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